Richard Bennett
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Contrary Cocktail

Moderne Shellac, 2015

Contrary Cocktail

A hypnotic blend of rhythms, landscapes, tones, colors, styles and moods, with melodies leading the way to certain places that only songs without words can go.

-- Pieta Brown, 2015

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It was clear and crisp when we left Chicago for a 30 minute flight north to Milwaukee.  As we rode through that city it struck me how much I always liked Milwaukee and not just the frozen custard.  It’s a rock solid midwestern city, clean as a whistle.  I could imagine myself living here if it weren’t for the winter.

 

As we arrived at The Riverside Theatre, I recognised a fellow with a long white beard and an armful of album covers.  It was “Albumman”  He’s collected so many obscure albums that have been signed not only by the artists, but all the musicians who’ve played on them.  Several years ago he posted me a box of 40 or 50 album covers of things I’d played on to sign.  Now he had another 20… some good, some real embarrassments, but I was happy to put pen to them.  When I finished I asked him what his real name was.  He pulled out his wallet, extracted his driver’s license and there it was… Albumman.  Fantastic.

 

The Riverside gig is renown for it’s catering.  After taking shots at U.S. caterers, this was a much welcomed exception.  The 8th floor of the theatre is a dedicated kitchen, dining area looking more like a cool coffee shop hang out than anything else.  Shelves full of books lined the walls, another wall was full of vinyl albums, a record player, speakers and a Marvin Gaye album playing on the turntable.  Couches, pillows, posters… a great vibe.  Dinner was sliced Hangar steak, Alaskan Halibut, pumpkin risotto, salads, cheese, smoked salmon, toasted corn soup and a variety of homemade desserts.  It was the delicious and notable dinner worthy of our 5-star catering crew in Europe.  And…. a proper coffee bar complete with a barista.  Many thank to the chefs and crew at Riverside.

 

After dinner it was a quick warm up of the fingers, change clothes and on stage for a 7:30 show.  It was a capacity crowd of 2,400.  Another wonderful audience and the band all in top form.  We played a song last night that was last performed 23 years ago, On Every Street.  We’ve been working on it at soundchecks for the last few days and it got a good airing last night…went down like a storm, Nigel manning his soprano sax and me playing pedal steel then switching to Stratocaster for the play out at the end.  However, it cost me ten bucks.  I had a running bet with my guitar tech and wing man, Tom Calcaterra that even though we’d been rehearsing it, I didn’t think it would see the light of day in the show.  As Tom brought out the pedal steel and put it in place, I plucked a tenner from my pocket and gladly handed it to him on stage.  

 

A runner back to Chicago where we arrived shortly after 11.  There’s a little tavern just around the corner from the hotel that we like to frequent and it was MK and a full band turnout for a few beers.  Mike and I decided to take the boat out a little further with several orders of bourbon.  A great way to wrap up a great day.

 

A night off in Chicago follows.

 

So long,

 

 

Richard